WINTER SESSION: Maharashtra may follow Andhra's lead; CM Thackeray asks chief secretary to submit Disha Act

Nagpur: Maharashtra may follow the lead of Andhra Pradesh by enacting legislation for quick settlement of cases involving crimes against women through special courts. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta to submit details of the Disha Act enacted by Andhra Pradesh. Thackeray’s directive comes after Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik moved a private member bill proposing death penalty for rapists in 100 days.

Sarnaik told The Free Press Journal,” I have moved a private member bill in the state assembly and also submitted a letter to the Chief Minister for further action. I have suggested awarding the death penalty within 100 days for rapists.’’ He said a request has been made to CM Thackeray and parliamentary affairs minister Eknath Shinde, to table the bill at the earliest in the legislature.

Shiv Sena leader and the deputy chairperson of the legislative council Neelam Gorhe suggested that the government should seek inputs from women's organisations, social activists and legal experts, before tabling such a bill.

Thackeray’s decision seeking legal and administrative details pertaining to the Disha Act passed by the Andhra Pradesh government is important. The Andhra Pradesh assembly last week passed the Disha Bill, named after the 27-year-old Hyderabad veterinarian, who was raped and then burned, which mandates that cases involving crimes against women must be settled in 21 days through special courts. The bill also proposes death penalty for rape convicts in cases with sufficient evidence conclusively proving the crime, among other provisions.

The investigation shall be completed in seven working days and the trial of cases is to be completed in 14 working days.

Under the Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill 2019, death penalty for rapists will be ensured by amending section 376 (which deals with punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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